I recently caught up with a client to chat about a potential gig (Is it weird that I used the word ‘gig’ there? Perhaps my questionable coverband past is coming back to bite me!), and I was so excited by her ideas, I just had to share the love.
I love a classic affair. I really do. I may have eclectic taste for some things, and want colour absolutely everywhere in my personal life, but really – nothin’ beats an understated elegance complemented by soft florals. And when you can bring this into 2013 with clever styling and a hint of glam, you got yourself a memorable event!
The palette is soft, with creams, blush pink, silvers and the classic black contrast. Great clusters of David Austin roses, draping and candles casting a glow across the room. I might just go light some now.
My Easter weekend is typically punctuated by stomach pain (from eating too much), and feeling like I need a nap (also from eating too much). Also – eating too much.
But this Easter’s anticipated gut ache was punctuated by one of my favourite past-times – antique warehouse adventure!!! Now, I am not authorised to divulge the address of this “Aladdin’s Cave” of antique and retro goodness, however if you subscribe to my blog I may just let you in on the secret. I will say that it is near Glen Waverley. That is all. If I say anything more, this may be my epilogue.
This place was mammoth, and although I’d forgotten to wear socks and as a result had frozen icicles for feet, I actually skipped down those long aisles of quirky and old goodness.
One of the reasons I got into styling and making things was the idea that you could find something old, and revive it, give it a new life. So it’s no surprise this place excited me. Plus, it always gives me inspiration, and perhaps the opportunity to purchase for future use (or future life in my home – let’s be honest).
There were the old suitcases and piles of gorgeous tableware and cutlery. Typewriters galore and, of course, a whole lotta ugly vases.
So many ideas for table settings, centrepieces and general dressings. If you share your secret antiques and retro locations – I might just share mine! I particularly loved the old cash register price numbers above (wouldn’t they be fantastic as table numbers?)
Colour coordinated books! A stall after my own heart!
I came away with a vintage travel beauty case for all of my events gear (like a tool box for a stylish lady!), and a big old beaker that will now serve as a vase on our bureau.
I haven’t slept a whole lot this week. This is a double-edged sword, since the cause and effect are both positive really, save for a small slice of negative (um, yeah, I’m buggered).
I could solely blame the beautiful Clare Bowditch for this, since this restlessness and overactive brain activity commenced after I attended the inaugural Big Hearted Business Conference at the Abbotsford Convent this weekend. It is partly true, for without her I would never have sat, eyes, heart and ears wide open, soaking up so much knowledge, inspiration and support that my brain went into creative overload. She pulled together this amazing space for creatives to learn how to value our work and ourselves, and, unashamedly, make a living (a life) from our artform. But she’s not the only one to hold accountable for this change in my nightly routine.
There are the speakers. I really had no idea what to expect from the weekend, and after Clare welcomed us all, virtually extending an embrace of support and generosity around the room, Kemi Nekvapil took to the stage. As far as organising events and creating a solid running-sheet goes, I think I’m pretty good at these two things. But whoever decided that Kemi should kick off the speakers for the weekend, is a bloody genius. Her energy, fierceness and message of nourishment set the tone for the rest of the weekend. You see, my husband is the foodie in our house, and I generally just get fed awesome things every night for dinner, dishes that are healthy and full of good stuff. But when I’m left to my own devices during the day…. well, let’s just say I’m not averse to scrambled eggs, every day , forever. I wasn’t putting my health and vitality first, and what Kemi said about getting rid of the scales, not living your life by the number, nourishing yourself with raw vegetables and generally feeling all sexy about yourself (Put life in, feel lively – Put junk in, feel junky) makes sense!
Here is a really wonderful “Inspiration Bomb” that features an interview with Kemi, brought to life in letters and chalk by the talented BHB Scholarship winner, Carla Hackett.
Kemi set the tone for the rest of the amazing and emotional weekend. So many people there were creatives just trying to find the confidence they need to even call themselves just that – a creative. I loved the combination of solid business advice from people like Lucy Feagins (“Be so good they can’t ignore you”) and Catherine Deveny (“You can’t be it before you see it” or “I didn’t eat hommus until I knew it existed”), with many more pure gold nuggets of advice and inspiration from Natalie Harker, Jane Martino, Darren Rowse, Isobel Knowles, Kate Tucker, Rachel Power, and Pip Lincolne. I want to talk about all of them, as each one of them gave me something to take with me on my own journey, but sometimes, you just gotta keep it and process it all in your brain (and sometimes, you just can’t remember exactly what they said, and would serve up a dodgy quote).
Thanks to Catherine Deveny, who made me snort my tea with her humour
So there’s them I could blame.
I could also blame my partner in crime Amy Constable, the Creative Director of Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress, with whom I collaborate and generally gas-bag with about all things creative. We bought tickets together, and I really don’t think we had any idea what we were in for, mainly because we were worried about what to wear. Jesus past-tense Amy and Caroline – that was so irrelevant!
What happens when we get our hands on felt, and a goodie-bag bonanza gift from Polli
I think perhaps I could blame also the collective assembly of ridiculously inspiring and talented women (and three men) who attended the conference. I’ve never been one to walk knowingly into a room full of women to bare my soul – but lordy – that’s what I wanted to do. We all overwhelmingly wanted to share our stories, the challenges we faced and the lessons we have learned or want to learn. I wanted to tell you all that I made a choice last year, which to me felt like a life or death choice (the death of my creative spirit), and to others looked totally flimsy. I left my high-stress, high-conflict, corporate job. I walked away from a career and a great pay packet. I walked away from being the big breadwinner in our house, something that I had really held onto as what defined my value. The light-bulb moment there was when I was diagnosed as Vitamin D deficient. WHAT?! I’m from Perth! That’s unheard of! It was the end of summer, and I knew that this was my sign. Get out of there! It was a risk, but I instantly changed. My husband noticed how happy I was, how relaxed and generally more fulfilled. I’m not a mother yet, but I know that it was just as important for my personal relationships as it would be to setting an example for our children.
Us, having more fun
In the end, however, the only person I can blame is myself. And I’m proud of it. I’ve let these ideas and inspiration flow and keep me awake because I want to capture it all. I’ve opened a flood-gate and I don’t want to let it stop until it’s ready. I know that I can’t do it all at once, but I need to get these thoughts out and start arranging them in order to take action. One of the speakers said that procrastination is narcissism, and that was a moment for me. I’m not, and have never been, a lazy person. I get things done. But I have been procrastinating over things that require self confidence, and I’m done with that. No time for you negative-thoughts committee!
I’m so excited to be able to share my latest project with ya’ll! It is a palette I’m not often working with, but I found I enjoyed it immensely (in particular the glitter component, which I don’t mind has ended up all over our house!)
The challenge for this event was the contrasting colours of the venue and their theme.
Venue = Orange + Black + ‘Funky’
Theme = White + Black + Silver + ‘Elegant’
There were handmade elements throughout the venue, with tulle pompoms and fans, my very own design wire bow-ties for the 3 foot white latex balloons from Occasion By Design, glitter bunting strung across the ceiling, glitter candles and much more.
Sophie had asked for personalised details on the dessert table too, which included hand wrapped chocolates as gifts. A hit! Sophie got involved in the DIY too and pulled these off perfectly!
On the dessert table I gathered beautiful edibles from the fabulous Sweet Sugar Treats, with the gorgeous apothecary jars from My Sweet Event Hire filled with lollies for guests to take home in goody bags. A handmade dessert stand, repurposed mirrors and other items filled out the table, on top of the striped tablecloth I sewed for the occasion!
To give guests an extra treat, we put together a table of props and accessories for them to form their own photobooth and take photos with disposable cameras. Lots of fun had by all!
To top it all off, I scattered love quotes on small chalkboard frames around the tables, with white flowers in glass jars to soften the whole look.
Oh, and of COURSE I must mention the amazing job of the cake, made by Leigh’s Auntie. Just fantastic!
When it came time for guests to arrive, the scene was set! I must mention that Bonnie from The Groove Train was an absolute WINNER, and made the day go so smoothly. Whenever I
needed anything, or had a question, she was there with a smile. Thanks Bonnie!
Additionally, the very busy Luke Lornie took these photos for me, and also the following of the night, and of course, they are beautiful.
I love a secret. Good ones of course. There are so few fabulous secrets in life these days, like the sex of your baby before birth or the name shouted from the rooftops several months before the child even makes an appearance. Where’s the mystery! Technology also somewhat takes away from life’s big secrets. Spoilers all over the net, the TV channel that has the rights to the Oscars invariably announcing the winners in its own news bulletin PRIOR to the award’s actually airing in Australia. Sad face.
So, when I got to be involved in the secret and surprise event of 2012 (that’s right, I’m totally calling it), I jumped at the chance!
I actually ruined my own status as a “surprisee” when Amy, Creative Director of Saint Gertrude Letterpress & Design and good friend handed me the invite to her daughter Hazel’s 2nd Birthday Party,
I looked at it. I stared hard at it, initially to appraise and appreciate her beautiful design work. Perhaps it was the light in the room, perhaps it is some genetic mutation that allows me to see in 3D without the glasses. Whatever the reason, I saw something.
“Um, is there something printed underneath? It looks like….Why does it say their wedding under there?”
“……..errr….um…..cos we’re GETTING MARRIED!!!!”
So I just had my lovely surprise early. And freaked Amy out, worried now that all her family and friends who were invited would see what I had seen. Turns out, I’m just bit of a freak. Hooray!
She asked me to help her style the day, and it had to look like a 2nd birthday party for Hazel, but also then double as a laid-back garden wedding. What a fab brief!
The next few weeks were a flurry of crafting, cutting, opshop hunting, stapling, and planning. Then the day arrived. A beautiful, sunny day.
We set up the garden, with giant balloons and tassels floating in the breeze, picnic rugs, flowers and other fun details.
The day was captured by the brilliant Luke Lornie, not only a wedding photographer, but also a great friend. He was able to capture the emotion of the day, and the moment all the family and friends realised what they were in for. So much joy!
The birthday started much like any 2nd birthday, although anyone in the toddler age-range was noticeably absent. Hazel didn’t seem fazed however, and soaked up the attention!
Guests arrived, bringing gifts for the birthday girl, and settled into a relaxing afternoon of chatting, food and drinks.
And then, Amy’s Mum Gayle, who had just been told that there was to be a wedding, was given the task of handing out the invitations and the associated 3D glasses. A pregnant guest that no one recognised then asked everyone to put on the glasses as it was part of a “game” for the party.
And this is what they saw….
Emotion and hilarity ensued.
The pregnant lady turned out to be the celebrant, Melissa Cornwall, chosen not just for her lovely nature, but also the fact that nobody would have suspected the random pregnant lady to be a surprise celebrant! Attention to detail people! Amy & John had written their own vows, and the ceremony was short, but sweet, with Hazel joining the party after they were announced husband and wife.
Then the celebrations began!
It was such a brilliant day. Relaxed, fun, romantic and everything that a wedding, or a marriage, should be. Props to Amy for creating those one-of-a-kind invitations, and rocking out in apple green gumboots later in the day. Also, to the groom John, who managed to pull off “backyard chic” in a pair of thongs, and a nifty his handsome self bespoke bow tie.
And, of course, to Hazel. What a gift your parents gave you for your 2nd birthday. I don’t think you’ll mind that they hijacked it for a pretty awesome reason.